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Card-index course

Encounter : Gender and Space in the Later Medieval Period

Responsible Faculty: Faculty of Arts

Teacher(s): Juliette Vuille
Lecturer(s): -

Validity: 2019 -> 2019

No timetable defined.


Spring semester
2 hours per week
28 hours per semester

Teaching language(s): English
Public: Yes
Credits: 0


This seminar will constitute an encounter with the ways space was gendered in the medieval period, and how literary production encoded gender geographically. Students will learn to qualify the binary association of women with the private sphere, and men with the public life (with the common, public woman as a liminal case) by examining how religion, socio-economic status, or professional activity changed the geography of women's medieval experience, as well as exploring the ways in which women challenged these fleeting geographical boundaries through pilgrimage, festivals, visionary experiences, etc... Through excerpts from Ancrene Wisse, Chaucer's "Wife of Bath Prologue", and the writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe (with additional use of shorter passages from patristic writings, other women writers on the Continent, etc...), this seminar will offer students a broader understanding of what it meant to be a woman in the Middle Ages in England, and will point to ways gender was used in literature to signify other concerns, such as heterodoxy, social status, the difference between religious and secular, and that between public and private.


An essay of 3000 words (8-9 pages)*, together with a short input presentation in class. Presentations (alone or in groups depending on attendance) will involve presenting a short analysis of a primary text with the help of secondary, critical, material. Details to be discussed at the first meeting of the seminar.

*For the 3000-words essay the deadline is Sunday of week 15. Students following the 'plan d'Útudes 2013' may also write an extended essay of 4000 words (11-12 pages), deadline t.b.a.


Set Texts: The Book of Margery Kempe, ed. Barry Windeatt (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2004). A reader will further be provided.

Programme requirements

You must have followed a second-year BA seminar in medieval literature (Exploration)

Additional information


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15